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Food & Drink

We’re Cooling Off With Ruby’s Sno-Balls This Summer

There was a period last year when La Victoria was closed for about seven months. Seeing as they make the best breakfast burrito in Dallas, I was crushed. Like a lovelorn teenager, I would drive past their building desperately searching for signs of life. I suppose I could’ve checked their Facebook page for updates, but I was feeling dramatic, dammit! On one such driveby last summer, I did, in fact, notice life in the building, though it was off to the side. I immediately swerved onto San Jacinto from Haskell and saw people milling about. They, however, weren’t hanging around for burritos. No, they were suffering the heat for Ruby’s Sno-Balls, and you better believe I got out to join them. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Calling one of Ruby’s snowballs a snow cone would be selling what Ruby’s does incredibly short. I am far from an expert on “snowy” desserts, but there are some key factors to what sets Ruby’s apart. The most fundamental difference is that the texture of Ruby’s ice is soft. It’s fluffy and delicate: cloud-like, even. Traditional snow cones are typically granular and crunchy. I think it’s fair to assume that readers of this are familiar with snow cones, so I’m going to stop comparing the two, and just tell you why Ruby’s rules.

The fluffy ice I described is important because it allows much better absorption of flavors. They seep into and permeate every nook of the sno-ball. This absorption is also due to the care put into shaping each treat. In a totally not creepy way, I stared through the window of Ruby’s to see how my sno-ball was being crafted. The woman creating was precise and methodical — she filled up my container pretty much to the top with ice and poured by flavors on. She then filled it up over the brim with even more, fluffy ice, poked some holes in it and poured more flavors on top of that. This multi-layered process goes a long way, and I was legitimately impressed by her exact precision. We’ve all had snow-cones where you get all the flavored ice in the first few bites, and then you’re left with a paper cone filled with unflavored ice. That’s always disappointing but nothing you need to worry about at Ruby’s.

While the ice Ruby’s uses is stellar, their syrups are what really count. They have the traditional flavors you’d expect from a shaved ice stand — banana, grape, tiger’s blood — but where they really shine is through their housemade creamy and fresh syrups. These flavors are a little less-expected but seriously shouldn’t be missed. Their list is ever-changing based on availability, but there will undoubtedly be some unique flavors you’ll be excited to try. On my most recent visit, I did half matcha and half tres leches. The matcha was earthy with just a twinge of sweetness. The tres leches was creamy and sweet, and both flavors balanced out perfectly. I devoured my sno-ball within minutes, and I am probably going to go back today because writing this has sparked a deep craving.

P.S. If you are having troubles finding Ruby’s Sno-balls, it’s just run out of a window on the south side of La Victoria. If you are having problems finding La Victoria…I don’t really know what to tell you.